11 Solo Female Travel Tips: The Good, Bad, and Beautiful
Traveling solo will bring you some of the most liberating experiences in your lifetime. But, it comes with its own trails and undertakings, which is all part of the beautiful journey. Learning new things about the world you live in and finding the strength and confidence in yourself makes for an epic adventure. Since it is important to be prepared for your unaccompanied journey, here are eleven travel tips for all you solo female travelers.
1. Choose your destination with intent.
When you start to consider going off on a solo adventure, the first thing you need to decide is where you want to go. This will be the most important decision you make and choosing your destination with intent and purpose will require a little bit of research.
Here are a few things to consider before your solo trip:
- Is the place you intend to visit good for solo travel?
- What type of activities does the destination have?
- Will you likely meet other travelers (or solo females) enjoying the same activities or amenities?
When choosing your destination, consider why you want to travel there in the first place.
Maybe you are eager to learn surfing and looking for a secluded beach with beginner waves. Perhaps, you might want to unwind and practice yoga in the jungle with stunning sea views.
Or maybe, you want to indulge yourself in a completely new culture and experience traditional practices passed down through generations.
Having well thought out intent on your destination will bring a more rewarding and satisfying experience. It may also help remove any unnecessary expectations that may come from visiting from a Western culture. Regardless of the reason for choosing your intent, going into the experience with a positive attitude, and having the confidence that you made the right decision will ensure that you have an amazing trip.
2. Do your research
Once you have a solid reason for choosing a destination, you should do a little research to help your trip run smoothly.
Here are some things to research and plan before you go:
- What are the requirements for entering the country?
- If you need a visa, how long is it good for and how much does it cost?
Is traveling through the country, your accommodations, and the activities you want to do all within your budget? It’s a good idea to research these things before you travel so you don’t end up going over budget before the end of your trip.
**Travelers Tip** Always leave some legroom for extra unexpected expenses and adventures. Half of the joy in solo traveling is flowing with the unexpected.
Download offline maps of your destination. You can download offline for Google Maps or use an app like Maps.me for detailed maps when you have no access to wifi.
Make sure you pin your accommodation as soon as you arrive. Bus stops/transport hubs and points of interest are also good to pin and will give you a lay of the land before you reach your destination. You’ll be happy you did during your travels and it’s a fun and easy way for you to document your adventures.
Scams and Dangers
It will make you feel a lot more comfortable and confident if you are aware of the tourist scams at your destination. That confidence will resonate with your experience and you will be less likely to get scammed.
Also, be aware of the local dangers and make sure to research past experiences of fellow travelers. When doing this try not to be put off. These are just single hand experiences and going about your travels with a positive attitude is very important for a successful trip.
3. Plan your first night well
When you first arrive at a new destination, it is a good idea to have your first night planned out. Know where you will be sleeping and how you will be getting there. The last thing you want after a long day of travel is to be stuck in an airport to then be forced to pay overpriced fees for a taxi- let alone trusting in the driver to take you to a decent hotel.
Plan your first night and make sure you know your mode of transport and how much it should cost. If you plan on taking a taxi to your accommodation, do a little research on base costs so you don’t pay crazy fees and get put off by a scam on your first day.
When in doubt find accommodation with an airport pick-up for your first night. Booking a hotel with a pick-up service is hassle-free and ensures you’ll get to your destination quickly and safely.
4. Pack light ladies!
Packing can be a daunting process. You always want to be prepared for everything and end up bringing way too much. (Don’t even think about bringing that hairdryer!)
Try to choose base clothes that can be layered and worn together.
The less you bring, the less money you will spend on transport. Some forms of public transport will charge you for an extra seat for your luggage or you might end up paying overweight fees on airlines.
You will also have a higher sense of freedom and will be a lot more mobile on your own if you don’t have a lot of baggage weighing you down. (But we already have plenty of baggage, am I right?)
Remember, if you leave something behind, you can usually find a similar replacement where you are going, or you might just find you can easily live without it.
5. You don’t need to tell anyone where you are staying
Your room is your safe haven. You don’t have to tell anyone where you are staying, and it’s better if you don’t. Feel free to meet new people in public areas but don’t invite anyone back to your place until they have built your trust. You wouldn’t tell a stranger your home address.
6. Dress Appropriately
This is one of the easiest ways to feel more comfortable in a foreign land. Dressing appropriately for the country’s culture can save you from feeling like even more of an outsider. This will help you avoid awkward situations, stares, and even bad looks or being called names.
Always make sure you are aware of the culture and what is socially acceptable. For instance, Make sure your arms and legs are covered in a Muslim country, cover your shoulders and knees while at a temple in South East Asia, and generally try not to wear skimpy revealing clothing that will make you stand out in a crowd.
**Note** I have had rocks thrown at me for having my knees showing (or another time called names for my shoulders out). This was in a more conservative Muslim area and could have been avoided had I done more research.
Standing out will give people the impression that you are a foreigner and this can make you a vulnerable target to scams or can lead to unwanted attention.
**Do yourself a favor and leave any revealing clothes for private spaces and not for the public when visiting non-Western countries. The emotional stress I have endured from being hassled by wearing the wrong clothes or nice jewelry… it was never worth the cute outfit.**
7. Trust your gut
Always trust in your gut instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it is usually a good idea to not do it. Only do what you feel comfortable with and be sure to carry yourself with confidence.
Try and be aware of your surroundings as much as possible and stay on your toes. Get a lay of the land through maps and travel advice from others. You don’t want to end up in the wrong part of town at the wrong time.
It’s also smart to only travel during the day. It’s a proven fact that more trouble occurs at night and can be unsafe to be out alone after dark. If you do need to travel at night, try to stick with a group that you trust or find reputable transportation.
8. Confidence is key
Even if it is your first trip abroad, having confidence in yourself as a traveler will not only help you be more comfortable with solo travel, but it will also show others that you are not someone to be messed with.
Showing that you are confused and lost on the streets will attract attention that you don’t want and can leave you vulnerable. Be assertive with your decisions and stand your ground.
The energy you put off is the energy you will receive. Soon enough, solo travel will become a comfortable norm.
9. You don’t owe anyone information about yourself
Solo females get a lot of questions about their social and life status. You’ll often have people ask you if you are married, how many children you have, or if you have a boyfriend.
You don’t owe anyone information about yourself and you don’t need to feel bad about telling a white lie to get out of an uncomfortable situation.
Sometimes, it can be easier to say your husband is waiting back at the hotel or simply not say anything at all.
10. Keep your valuables safe
In transit, you should have a smaller day pack that holds all of your valuables and that you keep on you at all times. Once you’ve made it to your destination, it’s a good idea to keep your valuables locked up or hidden in your room- only bring with you what you need out on your adventures.
It is also smart to keep a few copies of important documents like your passport hidden separately in your bag for emergencies.
11. Meet like-minded souls
Making new connections on the road is one of the best parts of traveling- especially when those connections are like-minded women such as yourself on the same journey. Traveling solo is one of the best ways to meet other individuals because people are generally more open to single travelers than a group or a couple.
Wherever you go, you’ll find new friendships and people who are open to sharing experiences. They also usually have great advice and ideas about where to go and how to travel.
If you are solo and looking to find a travel community, It’s helpful to pick a destination or accommodation where you are likely to mix with like-minded souls. Choosing a retreat or resort where you will likely be surrounded by like-minded individuals can be a liberating and comforting experience for your solo trip abroad.
**This article was written from my ocean-view stay at Costa Dulce Retreat, a yoga and surf ecolodge near San Juan Del Sur. It is a fantastic spot to meet other solo travelers and the people there make you feel like family. I recommend everyone finding the chance to make it down to Nicaragua and visiting this slice of paradise.**
-Author: Alexandra Meyer
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